Festival will transform Charlottesville into
emerald isle with four days of music, theater, film and discussion
McAleese, president of Ireland, will give the keynote address
of the opening session of the conference.
and U.Va. will link arms with the Irish during a historic international
conference and festival, Re-Imagining Ireland, to
be held May 7-10.
as a town meeting of Ireland out of Ireland, the unique
event will feature more than 100 Irish politicians, citizen activists,
journalists, writers, artists, scholars and musicians in discussions
about Irelands storied past, its present challenges and
future promise. Related cultural activities will include major
music, theater, film, literary and art presentations and U.S.
premieres at locations around the University and city.
President Mary McAleese will present the keynote address at the
Ireland has been planned for two years as a way for Irish
and Americans to reflect on and appreciate Irish culture, both
in itself and in relation to America and other parts of the world,
said project director Andrew Higgins Wyndham of the Virginia Foundation
for the Humanities, chief sponsor of the event.
conference schedule includes 31 thematically organized panel sessions
and special activities. On the roster are two major concerts,
an award-winning play, a new Irish feature film and series of
short films, readings by major Irish poets, and an exhibition
of contemporary Irish art. Among other main sponsors are the National
Endowment for the Humanities and the Irish Cultural Relations
conference is open to the public and can accommodate 350 registered
guests for the full program and larger audiences for cultural
events. Most discussion panels are free, but advance registration
is required. Individual tickets are available for the performance
events and should be purchased in advance (see box below for details).
the literary figures participating will be novelists Roddy Doyle
and Frank McCourt, and noted Irish journalists Fintan OToole,
Susan McKay, David McKittrick and Eamonn McCann.
Green Fields of America
Led by folklorist Mick Moloney, the Green Fields of America includes
some of Irish Americas finest musicians and dancers. The
group has played at Carnegie Hall, Wolf Trap, the Smithsonian
Institution, the Milwaukee Irish Fest and the U.S. National Folk
One of the most famous and accomplished groups of traditional
music, De Dannan is led by the fiery, virtuoso fiddle playing
of Frankie Gavin. Recognized as one of the worlds fiddle
and violin masters, Gavin is responsible for much of the style
and musical arrangements of the group.
Led by Joannie Madden, this six-woman Irish-American band produces
music based on traditional Irish dance tunes and is accompanied
by step dancing. The group has recorded seven albums, performed
widely on radio and television in the United States and Europe,
and shared the stage with James Taylor, Joan Baez, Emmy Lou Harris,
The Chieftains and dozens of symphony orchestras.
The award-winning play by Michael West is directed by American
expatriate Annie Ryan, with music by Vincent Doherty. The one-man
show features actor Andrew Bennett, narrator of the film Angelas
Ashes, who won accolades in the role at the 2001 Edinburgh
Fringe Festival. A panel discussion, sponsored by U.Va.s
Forum for Contemporary Thought, with playwright West and actor
Bennett will follow performances.
Each day at the festival, the Cork International Film Festival
will present a 75-minute program of short films from Ireland and
Northern Ireland films connected to the conference themes.
Additionally, the Irish Film Board will present a new Irish feature
film on May 8. The complete schedule of screenings is posted on
the conference Web site.
award-winning band, Solas, performs May 10.
Described in the Irish Echo as one of the most exciting
Irish bands anywhere in the world, Solas has won many awards.
The group is led by Seamus Egan, who has won All-Ireland championships
on four different instruments. The band has appeared on Garrison
Keillors A Prairie Home Companion, NPRs
Morning Edition, Mountain Stage and many
Throughout the festival, noted Irish musicians and storytellers
will present informal narratives with music, focusing on how national
identities are imagined and created. Performers include fiddler
Martin Hayes, banjoist Mick Maloney, singer-songwriter Andy Irvine,
folk expert Len Graham, storyteller John Campbell, musician Bruce
Molsky and folksinger Tommy Sands.
Organized in cooperation with the Irish Museum of Modern Art,
this show will present cutting-edge, artistically and politically
challenging works drawn primarily from the museums collection
in Dublin. The exhibition is at the U.Va. Art Museum through June
8. The U.Va. Forum for Contemporary Thought will sponsor a panel
focused on the exhibition, featuring Dublin City Arts Center director
Declan McGonagle and Irish Museum of Modern Art director of collections
Mòr Na Gaeilge The Great Book of Gaelic North American
Four years in the making, the Great Book of Gaelic or Leabhar
Mòr na Gaeilge is an extraordinary collaboration
that has been dubbed a 21st century Book of Kells. Combining the
work of 100 contemporary Scottish and Irish artists, poets, calligraphers
and typographers, the project brings together 15 centuries of
Scottish and Irish culture, celebrating mythologies, traditions
and a language that bind them together. One hundred artists were
asked to respond to 100 poems chosen and written by todays
top Gaelic poets. Twenty of 100 pages and panels will be presented
in the U.Va. Rotunda Dome Room through May 16.
Most discussion panels are free, but advance registration
is required. For details or to register, go to: www.re-imagining-ireland.org
or call 924-9721.